Russians kidnapped by pirates hijacking a Greek-owned ship in Nigeria

According to AFP, pirates hijacked a Greek-owned ship off Cameroon in mid-May have been freed in Nigeria and kidnapped two Russian sailors.

The captain and chief mechanic of the North Spirit’s 16-member crew, Boris Tersintsev and Igor Shumik, were taken to Lagos for a medical check after their release was secured in talks, Russian news agencies reported.

“They were freed, according to the ship’s owner. They are now on their way to Lagos, where they will spend two-three days,” said a spokeswoman for the Russian sailors’ union, Irina Ustimenko, quoted by RIA Novosti and ITAR-TASS.

A ransom was likely paid for the sailors’ release, but its size has not been disclosed, she said, adding that they were well and would fly home following the medical check.

The fate of a third Russian sea captain, Dmitry Bashkirov, seized the same day after pirates raided the nearby Lithuanian ship Argo on May 16, is still unclear, agencies said.

Africa’s most populous country remains a target-rich environment full of oil barges and oil company ships off of the delta, one of the U.S.’ top sources of crude oil. Cargo ships off the coast of the megacity of Lagos also fall under pirate attacks as they wait to unload their goods at the city’s busy and mismanaged ports.

The maritime bureau reported 28 attacks off Nigeria during 2009. The bureau also believes at least another 30 pirate attacks went unreported, either due to companies worrying about having higher insurance premiums or concerns about advertising their security weaknesses.


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